Overall, 2016 was a strong year for Marvel Legends. Hasbro has continued to make strides working within the limitations of its budget and production line to produce solid figures that collectors of all ages can appreciate. Beyond that, 2016 saw the return of one of the pillars of Marvel comics to Marvel Legends: The X-Men. In appreciation, I wanted to chronicle my (mostly) praise for the best things about Marvel Legends in 2016.
One of the best things to come out of the year is that Hasbro finally found a way (or decided to put effort into, who really knows? Not me.) to not only paint eyes, eyebrows, and other facial features better, but do it consistently. While there is still more improvement to be made, particularly with movie figures that feature actor likenesses, it’s nice to see that they are starting to do some justice to the stellar work their sculptors put in.
The articulation on Mockingbird puts every other female Marvel Legend (and most males) to shame. It has the same joints in the same places as those other figures, but the range and freedom of those joints are completely unmatched by any other lady Legend. It is also made of almost entirely new parts, with only the batons being reused from a past figure. The one real point of criticism is this figure’s head. The hair sculpt and material severely limit its articulation and the paint job on its face isn’t the greatest. Regardless, Mockingbird is awesome and it’s a shame there aren’t any more that follow in its footsteps.
Nico is a great example of what Hasbro can do when it tries. It looks great and goes above and beyond with its accessories.
Sometimes it’s as simple as taking a popular character and just getting it right, as we will see later on down this list.
I’m not sure how exactly the Ultimate Spider-Man body will get reused (beyond the upcoming Sam Alexander Nova figure), but it’s a fairly safe bet that it will be reused as much as possible, in which case I’m grateful for how posable this figure is. A forward/backward shoulder (or “butterfly”) joint would have made this body that much better, but I’m still happy to add a great Miles Morales to the collection and look forward to what Hasbro does next with this body.
I go back and forth between this Doctor Strange figure and the Civil War Black Panther figure. I can’t help but appreciate the sculpt and color of Doctor Strange. While parts of his costume limit his articulation, he’s as articulated as Doctor Strange really needs to be, except for his left arm with the cloak on. Black Panther, on the other hand, is widely praised despite some issues it has that I feel are commonly overlooked. I have a hard time deciding whether I really like Strange more or if I just want to bring Panther down a notch. Ultimately, though, the edge goes to Black Panther, because Black Panther has the advantage of not having to capture a real human likeness and the edge in cool factor.
Best Movie Figure
Chances are, if you are reading this, you don’t need me to tell you why this figure is great. It is a fantastic sculpt of one of the best costume designs in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So instead, I’m going to detail the problems I had that made me really not want to pile on the praise for this figure. First, his shoulders. I feel like they’re set ever so slightly too far forward and it makes him look a bit awkward in a vanilla standing pose. The shoulder joints and sculpt of the torso also do not allow him to bring his arms all the way down to his sides. Next are his hands. They are sculpted in an awkward position that looks good in so few poses that I usually replace them with a spare set of Superior Venom hands I painted silver knuckles onto. Next: the hips. These hips feature worse-than-usual Hasbro Marvel Legends needlessly limited hip articulation that will never cease to irritate me. I just want my figures to be able to kick high, do the splits, and curl up into the fetal position. Instead, Black Panther kicks maybe 45 degrees out and not even 90 degrees forward. Finally, the figure’s lower legs are noticeably longer than his upper legs, which I have never seen on any other figure before. That makes me think something is wrong there. But yeah, I’ve said my piece. Best Marvel Legends movie figure 2016 regardless.
Best Comic Figure
On a completely objective level, Wolverine is easily the best figure of 2016. It is a completely new figure for a top Marvel character and it is just about as perfect as a Marvel Legends figure gets. The sculpt and scale are on point and it has all the articulation you could want for Wolverine. Unfortunately, it was not enough of an upgrade over the Puck series Wolverine to get me excited about adding it to my collection. Which is why…
Personal Favorite of 2016
This pick might be a bit controversial, as I have seen plenty of complaints about Iceman and even found it on at least one Worst of 2016 list. The main arguments against it are its lack of paint, rubbery joints, and lack of accessories. None of that bothers me at all. Marvel Legends all tend to hover at around the same level of quality, and I just think the eye-grabbing appeal of Iceman as a clear, icy looking figure plus the articulation afforded by its reuse of the Spider-Man body make it stand out above the rest. Iceman is a fantastic looking figure of an iconic character on my favorite base body.